Wednesday, May 16, 2007

I'm still whining

The pain in my sternum has lessened to the point where I only took Percocet once today. Sigh. It is getting better, but I'm getting tired of the pain. I know, you're all getting tired of me whining :)

I did make it to my young women's support group. It was such a relief to go there; I missed last month's, and I haven't been able to make it to my Spirituality and Healing group for a while. Tonight, as part of a broader focus of the group, we made braided hangers. They look kind of cool when they're done. I think if I were making them all the time, I'd use subtle colours. The clothes do stick to the hangars better because of the braid, though.

One thing we talked about today while I was there was my oncologist. I don't feel all that comfortable with her. I feel like she's not giving me complete and accurate information (for example, when she gives me tumour marker numbers she rounds them down), and I feel like she won't tell me things unless I ask. As well, in my last visit when I was complaining about my tiredness, her first answer was that maybe this was my new normal; that I had to accept that I could only do 20% of what I could do before. Personally, I think that there is no reason at all why I should be this tired and I'm certainly not going to roll over and just accept it. I ended up feeling (and still feel) like my oncologist was kinda dismissing my tiredness or giving up on me. I'm concerned that this is a pattern; that when things are dire, she will give up without searching for new possibilities. I want (and think I deserve) better than that.

I just don't know how to go about finding a new oncologist in my area. I don't want to go back to Mississauga. This could be difficult. Oh - people also suggested that I get a referral to the pain specialist over at the cancer center. We'll see.


Anonymous said...

It sounds like your doctor has a problem that I find is common with a lot of older doctors. The inability to admit they don't know something off of the top of their head. I find the training has changed over the years and it's more acceptable for doctors that are just starting their practice to look things up and be sure they are right. The exhaustion thing could just be out of the realm of her specialty and she's reacting in a bad way. You may find it more productive to talk to a primary care physician.

What I was told to do when I was sick and had a bad doctor; was to go to my primary care physician and explain the problem. They will give you a referral to a new physician. It will probably cost you a fair chunk to transfer your file. The rules for medical record transferals are pretty strait forward. Just be sure to note you don't want a summary.

As for the tiredness I can give you a few tips. For me the number one case of exhaustion is dehydration. It gets worse when I'm already tired because I don't feel like getting a drink. This is a tricky on because after a little while you stop being thirsty. If you find you're drinking water at a faster rate or have yellow-orange or darker pee this may be it.

If you do start drinking a lot of water. You should remember that it can cause electrolyte imbalances. (This can also cause exhaustion) So make sure you either drink the energy drinks or have it covered some other way. Electrolyte imbalances for me tend to come with skeletal muscle cramps and twitches.

An iron deficiency can cause exhaustion as well. If you find yourself out of breath this may be it.

All the previous tips can be checked out by a blood test. You could request one from your primary care physician.

Pain and a number of other things can cause tiredness because it keeps you awake. But this'll feel different then the exhaustion. Have someone watch you and if you sleep lighter or wake up more often see what you can do about that. You may find a good bed will help anyways.

One of the hardest causes that I find to break is lack of exercise. But I also find it doesn't take much for me. Just try and walk/bike whatever 10-20 minutes most days. I tend to sit at my computer all day so it makes the problem much worse. But it's something else to consider.

The last one is probably depression it can be caused by any number of the above. The best way to avoid it is to spend a lot of time with supportive people.

Anonymous said...

Re tiredness, I find that if my pain level has crept up I am really tired! Does your pain seem to lessen after a long nap? That's what happens with me. I use that as an indicator that my pain meds need adjusting.

Re pain, seeing a specialist in this area might be a really big help.

Aunt Margaret